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Declaración de WWF sobre el CPR (Conservación, Protección y Recuperación) de la vaquita

11. October 2017 - 2:00
El 12 de octubre el Gobierno de México, con el apoyo de expertos y científicos internacionales, iniciará un esfuerzo sin precedentes para salvar a la vaquita, el mamífero marino más amenazado del mundo. El proyecto, conocido como CPR (Conservación, Protección y Recuperación), busca rescatar a las vaquitas que quedan y reubicarlas temporalmente en un santuario marino en el Alto Golfo de California. El objetivo final es que una vez que haya sido eliminada la principal amenaza para su supervivencia –las redes de enmalle- estos cetáceos regresen a su hábitat natural.

WWF apoya al CPR como una estrategia audaz y necesaria, que forma parte de esfuerzos más amplios de conservación para salvar a esta especie, cuya población ha descendido a menos de 30 individuos. "Aunque el CPR enfrenta mucha incertidumbre y es altamente riesgoso, WWF reconoce que es una acción necesaria para salvar a la vaquita de la extinción", dijo Jorge Rickards, Director General de WWF México. "WWF apoya al CPR con el único objetivo de regresar a una población saludable de vaquitas a su entorno natural y, por lo tanto, nuestro principal interés es asegurar un Alto Golfo de California sano y libre de redes de enmalle, en el que la vida silvestre y las comunidades locales puedan prosperar. Tenemos la esperanza de que juntos veamos resultados exitosos tanto en el CPR como en los esfuerzos de conservación en el hábitat de la vaquita".

WWF no participará en las actividades del CPR, que incluyen la captura y reubicación de la especie, pues estas labores no forman parte de su área de especialización. Sin embargo continuará apoyando tareas que benefician de forma directa al CPR y a la vaquita en vida silvestre, incluyendo:
  1. El monitoreo acústico, crucial para ayudar a localizar a las vaquitas que quedan. Desde 2012, WWF ha apoyado este monitoreo que ha sido operado por el Instituto Nacional de Ecología y Cambio Climático de México (INECC) para ayudar a estimar la población de esta especie y es esencial para medir la efectividad de los esfuerzos de conservación de la vaquita.
  2. WWF seguirá participando en el retiro de redes fantasma o abandonadas, muchas de ellas ilegales, que se desplazan sin rumbo fijo y atrapan y matan a vaquitas y a otras especies marinas. Como parte de este esfuerzo, WWF está apoyando el uso de un sonar de barrido que contribuye a detectar más eficientemente las redes fantasma, a fin de asegurar un ambiente libre de redes de enmalle para las vaquitas y los delfines de la Marina de los Estados Unidos que ayudarán a ubicarlas.

Tanto el monitoreo acústico como el retiro de redes se llevan a cabo con la ayuda y experiencia de pescadores locales.

Notas para los editores:
WWF es una de las organizaciones independientes de conservación más grandes y con mayor experiencia en el mundo. WWF nació en 1961 y es conocida por el símbolo del Panda. Actualmente, cuenta con una red mundial que trabaja en más de 100 países. Para saber más de WWF visite: www.wwf.org.mx y www.panda.org

Para mayor información por favor contactar a:
Jatziri Perez, WWF México, +52 (55) 26 99 05 91, jperez@wwfmex.org
Monica Echeverria, WWF Estados Unidos, +1 (202) 495 4626, monica.echeverria@wwfus.org
Scott Edwards, WWF Internacional, +44 7887 954116, sedwards@wwfint.org

Artificial nests aim to increase Shy Albatross breeding success

9. October 2017 - 2:00
Specially built mudbrick and aerated concrete artificial nests, airlifted on to Bass Strait's Albatross Island in a trial program aimed at increasing the breeding success of the Tasmanian Shy Albatross, appear to have been accepted by the vulnerable sea-birds, early monitoring is showing.      
 
A co-operative effort – which brought together wildlife and funding partners from WWF-Australia with support from the WWF-US Wildlife Adaptation Innovation Fund, the Tasmanian and Australian Governments, CSIRO Marine Climate Impact and the Tasmanian Albatross Fund – saw an air and sea operation that installed 120 of the pre-constructed nests on to the island.
  
Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment Wildlife Biologist Rachael Alderman said the first post-installation monitoring trip this week has shown that most of the artificial nests are being used by the birds.
 
"This is fantastic to see as the operation was several years in the planning from developing the idea, testing a small number of proto-types, and refining and expanding to this larger study that will enable evaluation of whether this approach can provide a boost to the population.
 
"Albatross lay a single egg each year and they invest enormous energy into incubating the egg and raising the chick. On average, over half the attempts will fail, and one of many factors in this is the nest quality," Dr Alderman said.
 
"Their nests range from a barest scrape on the rocks to a high sculptured pottery-like pedestal. Monitoring data shows that pairs breeding on high quality nests have higher breeding success than those on poorer quality nests.
 
"This trial is based on the simple theory that if ready-made high-quality nests are put in areas where nests are typically of lower quality we increase the chances of albatross pairs successfully raising a chick."
 
Acting Threatened Species Commissioner Sebastian Lang said the Tasmanian Shy Albatross was identified by the Australian Government, through the Threatened Species Prospectus, as an important species in need of action and strong partnerships to assist its survival.
 
"The species is nationally listed as Vulnerable, but is still relatively abundant. We are acting early and working co-operatively to understand the threats to its survival, and trial and implement on-ground actions to address these threats," he said.
 
WWF-Australia's Head of Living Ecosystems Darren Grover said with breeding success key to maintaining viable populations, the nests were seen as an important measure.
 
"If good quality, artificial nests help more chicks survive until they are big enough to fly then over time that could make a real difference to the population," he said.
 
"After several proto-types, the team developed an artificial nest that mimics a good quality real nest.
 
Mr Grover said nest installation was timed to maximise acceptance by the birds.
 
"Researchers positioned the artificial nests just as the birds were starting to stake out nest sites and begin construction. Although it is still very early days it's encouraging to see some birds starting to utilise the artificial nests," he said.
 
"We're hoping to see many eggs hatch and many chicks survive on artificial nests," Mr Grover said.
 
Dr Alderman, who has been monitoring the population for nearly 15 years, said with the Tasmanian Shy Albatross only breeding at three offshore islands near Tasmania, the species was particularly vulnerable to impacts such as climate change.
 
"Already some impacts are being seen with fewer chicks produced in years of higher temperatures or increased rainfall – also there is evidence of birds spending longer periods at time at sea obtaining food," Dr Alderman said.
 
"While some species can physically relocate to more favourable environments or adapt in other ways, the biology of albatross make them particularly vulnerable to rapid negative changes. Their low reproductive output and innate compulsion to return to the same colony each year, restricts their ability to move to more favourable environments.
 
"Unprecedented changes in the marine and breeding environments have already been documented and we know that climate change is here to stay. We need to be developing strategies now if we want to ensure our most susceptible species persist in the future".
 

For more information, please contact:
 
 Mark Symmons | WWF Australia |  Mark Symmons | 07 3103 6935 | 0400 985 571

About WWF
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit www.panda.org/news for latest news and media resources and follow us on Twitter @WWF_media.
 
 

The Mediterranean Sea: incomparable wealth in steep decline

27. September 2017 - 2:00
Rome, Italy – Along its 46,000km coastline, the Mediterranean Sea supports around 150 million people living along its shores. The report Reviving the Economy of the Mediterranean Sea: Actions for a sustainable future, launched today, shows that the Mediterranean Sea plays a fundamental role in the region's economy but that the sea's underlying natural asset base – which supports much of the economy and community wellbeing – is eroding.
 
The report, produced by WWF in association with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), is the most focused review yet of the Mediterranean Sea's natural asset base. It reveals the enormous benefits that the Mediterranean Sea brings to the region's economy and proposes six strategic priorities to achieve a sustainable future for the Mediterranean.
 
The report maps the contribution of the sea to the region in new ways and finds that the overall value of the Mediterranean's natural assets is at least US$5.6 trillion. This value draws on assets including productive coastlines, fisheries and seagrass. The sea's annual estimated economic output is at least US$450 billion.
 
If the Mediterranean Sea was its own economy, it would be the fifth largest in the region – bigger than most of the region's national economies – generating about as much annual economic output as Algeria, Greece and Morocco combined.
 
The report also reveals, however, that many principal assets in the Mediterranean Sea are declining because of unsustainable exploitation and that the use of these resources is accelerating. The report focusses on the fisheries sector and the rapidly growing tourism industry and shows that the health of the Mediterranean Sea is at a turning point.
 
"This new analysis adds considerable weight to the case for conservation to be an even higher priority for Mediterranean leaders. We have seen good commitments in the past but an objective analysis shows that we are running out of time and that we need action on a much greater scale and urgency if we are to ensure a healthy and prosperous future for the Mediterranean.", said Demetres Karavellas, CEO of WWF-Greece.
 
In his foreword, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said, "developing a strong and sustainable Blue Economy for the Mediterranean region will greatly depend on keeping our sea, coastlines, and marine ecosystems healthy, and where possible to restore degraded ecosystems. We cannot continue to erode the very assets that Mediterranean cultures and economies depend on."
 
BCG Partner and Managing Director, Nicolas Kachaner, said, "With this analysis, no one can be in any doubt about the importance of carefully managing the sea assets that underpin so much of the Mediterranean economy. A prudent economic approach would see strong conservation actions rolled out across the region to secure its natural assets, otherwise the region's economic foundations could seriously be threatened."
 
"We are seeing many fish populations, coastal areas and ocean ecosystems coming under immense pressure around the world and in important regions like the Mediterranean.  We also are witnessing an unprecedented focus on the ocean and leaders in the Mediterranean and beyond can seize this moment to commit to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the global climate agreement of 2015. There is no time to lose." adds John Tanzer, Leader for Oceans at WWF.
 
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Notes to editors:
 
For two sectors, fisheries and tourism, the report offers recommendations for policy makers, investors and developers to improve their sustainability and to shift towards a Blue Economy development model that will sustain ocean assets and contribute to the region's prosperity.
 
Tourism is the greatest contributor to the region's economies, accounting for 11% of Mediterranean countries' cumulative gross domestic product (GDP). However, the current mass tourism model – which often involves aggressive coastal development, excessive water and energy consumption and unsustainable management of solid waste and sewage – has degraded both the marine and the coastal environment. Tourism, according to the report, represents more than 90% of the annual ocean-based economic output of the Mediterranean. A predicted growth in tourism will lead to potential conflicts for the use of space in coastal areas.
The Mediterranean fisheries sector, another key contributor to the region's economy, has been in a deepening crisis in recent years. It still has an estimated collective worth of over US$3 billion and directly employs more than 180,000 people.
 
The European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella wrote the preface to the new report and the launch is timed to foster conversation at the Our Ocean conference in Malta in early October, hosted by the European Union.  WWF will hold a side event at the conference to present the key findings of the report.
 
WWF at the Our Ocean Conference: WWF will be present at the Our Ocean Conference with a delegation of experts and will organise two side events. A WWF media pack will be distributed ahead of the Conference. For media enquiries and information, please contact: Stefania Campogianni and Maud Busuttil
 
The complete report can be found at: ocean.panda.org
A series of infographics and photos accompanying the report are available here.

CONTACTS:Maud Busuttil
Communications Manager
WWF MMI

email: mbusuttil@wwfmedpo.org
phone: +39 346 387 3237Eric Gregoire
Global Media Relations Manager
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

email: gregoire.eric@bcg.com
phone: +1 617 850 3783Mauro Randone
Project Manager
WWF Mediterranean

email: mrandone@wwf.medpo.org
phone: +39 3472972856

French-led Global Pact for the Environment opportunity to strengthen momentum on climate action

19. September 2017 - 2:00

NEW YORK (19 September 2017) – As climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental degradation continue to impact the wellbeing of millions worldwide, the Global Pact for the Environment, presented by French President Emmanuel Macron at the UN General Assembly today, should enjoy the support of all world leaders, urges WWF.

The initiative, first announced at a conference in Paris in June, offers a high-level platform to not only maintain the global momentum on climate action but further enhance the world's environmental ambitions.

WWF International Director General Marco Lambertini said: "In the past years, UN member states have made history towards a sustainable future, embracing the Sustainable Development Goals which assert a total interdependency between the environment, society and economy, and committing unequivocally to fight climate change. But now is not the time to be complacent. The science is showing us we need to do more to bend the curves of global warming and nature loss – and fast. WWF urges member states to support the global pact for the environment and take a step forward toward ensuring the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment for all. We need to do more on climate as well as bring the loss of nature higher in the political and development debate. There will be no chance to meet the ambition of the SDGs in a destabilized climate and degraded natural environment."
 

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global Climate & Energy Practice said:"Never was the time more opportune to support a global pact for the environment. We face incontrovertible evidence of the loss of biodiversity, weakening nature's ability to provide the services on which human survival and wellbeing depends. And we need to do this by 2020, when there will be a convergence of milestones associated with important global instruments such as the Aichi biodiversity targets, the Sustainable Development Goals and the global Paris climate agreement, which can become a tipping point for real change. The global pact can and should serve as a platform from which to build a strong collective global vision that aligns each of these global milestones."

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For further information, contact Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org.

New IPCC report to include science of attributing extreme events to climate change

10. September 2017 - 2:00
BERLIN, Germany (11 September 2017) - The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has approved the outlines of its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) at a meeting in Montreal this week.
 
Dr Stephen Cornelius, Chief Adviser on Climate Change at WWF-UK said: "IPCC Assessment Reports are the authoritative source of information on climate change. The wide-ranging reports cover all aspects of climate change – from the physical science, to impacts, adaptation and vulnerability, and mitigation.
 
"With flooding, hurricanes and other extreme weather causing devastating impacts on people and ecosystems, an important section of the report will be the science of attributing extreme events to a changing climate.
 
"The reports will look at climate impacts already being felt as well as projections as the climate changes in the future. It is global in scope, covering land and ocean from the equator to the Poles. It importantly recognizes nature including looking impacts of climate change on species, ecosystems and biodiversity."
 
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global Climate & Energy Practice, said: "The IPCC Assessment Reports contribute enormously to our understanding of the science of climate change. Their Sixth Assessment Report will come at a time the world is grappling with widespread climate impacts. How we better understand the science will help us to find solutions to keeping warming to below the 1.5°C set out in the global climate Paris Agreement."
 
Notes for editors:
  • The IPCC is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change.
  • The 46th Session of the Panel was held in Montreal, Canada, 6-10 September 2017.  Here, the three IPCC Working Group contributions to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) and the broad outline of the Synthesis Report were agreed.
  • The IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report will be released in 2021 – 2022.  
 For further information, contact Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org  

Mondi and WWF extend strategic partnership by three years

6. September 2017 - 2:00
Mondi Group and WWF International announced today that they have renewed their global partnership for a further three years.

 In 2014 Mondi entered into a three-year global partnership with WWF, focusing on promoting environmental stewardship in the packaging and paper sector. This global partnership has now been extended by another three years, becoming the longest standing WWF International partnership of its kind.

This partnership evolved from the collaboration between Mondi and WWF South Africa through the WWF-Mondi Wetlands Programme, and is a clear signal that Mondi is committed to demonstrating that responsible environmental stewardship makes good business sense.

 Phase II of the partnership will embed and extend Mondi's stewardship of forests, climate & energy and freshwater, with the work being organised around three areas:
  •  Ecosystem Stewardship – with a special focus on sustainable forestry development in north west Russia and collective water stewardship activities in South Africa.
  •  Manufacturing Stewardship – to demonstrate Mondi's ongoing commitment to reducing its freshwater footprint and its contribution to a low-carbon economy by further reducing Mondi's energy footprint.
  • Product Stewardship – via responsible sourcing of wood and fibre, and working to increase the availability of credibly certified fibre.
 Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International says "Forests are providing some of the most vital nature services that underpin the global economy and are critical for supporting the lives and prosperity of local people, communities and humanity globally. If protected and managed responsibly these key ecosystems can continue to provide economic and social benefits now and for future generations, while contributing to the local and global ecological balance essential to all life on Earth.  The partnership with Mondi focuses on achieving this, and we are very excited to take forward this new phase of collaboration."

Peter Oswald, Mondi Group CEO says, "This international partnership contributes to our goal of growing responsibly and sharing best practice in our industry. We've worked closely with WWF for many years and this partnership continues to give us a great platform for exploring sustainable solutions with a trusted partner. The work of the partnership is focused on the future and as we celebrate Mondi's 50th anniversary this year, we're able to recognise our past successes while firmly keeping our focus on the future."

Ultimately, this partnership is working to ensure that forests continue to be an ongoing sustainable source of fibre within a world enriched by extensive, resilient forest landscapes benefiting biodiversity, climate and human well-being. 

Judge suspends Brazil government's decision to open up a national reserve for mining

31. August 2017 - 2:00
The substitute judge of the 21st Regional Federal Court of the Federal District (TRF1), Rolando Valcir Spanholo, granted on Tuesday, Aug. 29, an injunction that suspends the decree of the Brazilian government that abolishes the National Reserve of Copper and Associates (Renca).
 
The request stemmed from a Public Civil Action that argues that the decree signed by President Temer puts protected areas located in the Renca area - a territory of 47,000 square kilometers between Pará and Amapá - at risk and leaves sections of the region - about 30 per cent of the total area - open to mining activity.
 
On Wednesday, the Attorney General's Office (AGU) said it will appeal the decision.
 
With potential for extraction of gold, iron, manganese and tantalum, Renca partially overlaps with nine federal and state protected areas: Tumucumaque Mountains National Park, Paru and Amapá State Forests, Maicuru Biological Reserve, Estação The Jari Ecological Reserve, the Rio Cajari Extractive Reserve, the Iratapuru River Sustainable Development Reserve and the Waiãpi Indigenous Lands and Rio Paru d`Este.
 
That is the potential conflict. In most of these areas, mining is prohibited - although there are gaps in legislation that may set precedents for mineral extraction in sustainable use protected areas.
 
But even if it happens outside the confines of conservation units, mining activity, by law, must be carried out in a way that respects the environment and the rights of Indigenous Peoples and traditional communities living in the region.
 
This potential conflict was announced by WWF-Brazil in May of this year through a document that anticipated the stimulus package for the mineral sector prepared by the Ministry of Mines and Energy. In July, a new WWF report on the Renca situation outlined the most sensitive areas and possible risks of opening up large-scale business activities in the region.
 
And yet, the opening took place without any previous debate with society. "The government did not call on society to discuss a form of sustainable intervention in the Renca area. It simply met the industry's demands, bypassing environmental and social interests," says Jaime Gesisky, a specialist in Public Policy at WWF-Brazil.
 
According to news published on the website of the Observatory of Climate (OC), the president's decision bypassed even an opinion of the Ministry of the Environment that requested the maintenance of the mineral reserve due to the risk of increased deforestation in the region. The opinion points to the risk of increased deforestation in the region.
 
According to the MMA, of the 46,501 square kilometers of Renca, 45,767 square kilometers are covered by forest and 206 square kilometers are rivers. The deforested area is 528 square kilometers, or 1.1 per cent of the total.
 
In the opinion, MMA technicians drew attention to recent changes in Brazilian legislation which favour mining in protected areas. The new Mining Code, now converted into law, does not provide for the prior authorization of environmental agencies for mining concessions.
 
In addition, the new Forest Code opens the possibility that mining can take place in areas of permanent preservation, which is enough for the Executive to declare the activity to be of "public interest", notes the OC news.
 
And this pressure, in the understanding of MMA, can lead to more deforestation in the region, as well as induce the migration of people to the area and impact the traditional communities that live there, generating violence and degradation.
 
In a lawsuit filed earlier this week, the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office in Amapá (MPF / AP) also asked the Federal Court for an emergency injunction to suspend the effects of the decree that extinguished Renca.  According to the suit, in addition to contradicting the Federal Constitution, the government measure puts at risk the preservation of the environment and violates the fundamental rights of the Amazonians, especially the right to prior consultation.

For more information, contact:
Gabriela Yamaguchi, Communications & Engagement Director 
Tel: +55 11 976 774 608
Email: gabrielayamaguchi@wwf.org.br

381 new species discovered in the Amazon

31. August 2017 - 2:00
  • New report reveals that, between 2014-2015, a new plant or animal species was discovered in the Amazon every 2 days - the fastest rate this century;
  • New species include a fire-tailed titi monkey, honeycomb patterned stingray, pink river dolphin, a yellow-moustached lizard and a bird named after former US president Barack Obama;
  • WWF is calling for urgent action to protect the forest, following a recent presidential decree in Brazil aiming to abolish an Amazonian reserve the size of Switzerland.
Sao Paolo, 31 August 2017 - A new WWF and Mamirauá Institute for Sustainable Development report, released on 30 August, reveals that a new animal or plant species is discovered in the Amazon every 2 days, the fastest rate to be observed this century. The findings come as huge parts of the forest are increasingly under threat, sparking further concern over the irreversible - and potentially catastrophic - consequences unsustainable policy and decision-making could have.
 
New Species of Vertebrates and Plants in the Amazon 2014-2015, details 381 new species that were discovered over 24 months, including 216 plants, 93 fish, 32 amphibians, 20 mammals (2 of which are fossils), 19 reptiles and 1 bird.
 
The latest 2014-2015 survey indicates the highest rate of discovery yet, with a species identified every 1.9 days. The average number of new species found in the Amazon in WWF's 1999-2009 report was 111 a year, or one new species every three days, while the 2010-2013 report revealed that at least 441 were discovered, which works out at a rate of one new species every 3.3 days.
 
A great enigma
Ricardo Mello, coordinator of WWF-Brazil Amazon Programme, says that life within this biome is still a great enigma: "We're in 2017, verifying the existence of new species and even though resources are scarce, we are seeing an immense variety and richness of biodiversity. This is a signal that we still have much to learn about the Amazon".
 
Mello also states that the new findings should compel decision-makers, both public and private, to think about the irreversible impacts caused by large-scale projects such as roads and hydroelectric dams in the Amazon.
 
"This biodiversity needs to be known and protected. Studies indicate that the greatest economic potential of a region such as the Amazon is the inclusion of biodiversity in the technological solutions of a new development model, including development of cures for diseases, relying on new species for food purposes, such as superfoods. "
 
The report comes the week after Brazil's government passed a decree allowing mining in the National Reserve of Copper and Associates (Renca), a huge protected area the size of Switzerland which encompasses nine protected areas. Opening protected areas of the forest up for deforestation and mining, could be disastrous for wildlife and local cultures and indigenous communities. While the decree has since been revised to clarify that mining will not be allowed in conservation or indigenous areas within the former reserve, following national and global outcry, challenges persist for the world's largest tropical forest.
 
Informing conservation strategies
For João Valsecchi do Amaral, technical and scientific director at the Mamirauá Institute for Sustainable Development, the new knowledge brought by this report will help to identify areas or species that are reeling under pressures, to monitor this biodiversity and establish new strategies of conservation.
 
"For the conservation of species, it is necessary to know what they are, how many there are and their distribution. These are key details to ensure that ecological and evolutionary processes are understood and maintained to ensure the species survival", he explained.
 
Protected areas
The creation of protected areas is among the strategies cited in the report to lessen the negative impact of the development that the Amazon is and will continue to be subject to.
 
The description of new species and the dissemination of scientific results can help raise public awareness and understanding on the importance of the Amazon and the need for greater and more comprehensive knowledge of its biodiversity. They can also form the basis for strategies related to the establishment of protected areas and public conservation policies.
 
Due to its vast size, variety of species and diversity of habitats, the gaps in scientific knowledge about the Amazon are still enormous. The majority of species recordings are based on observations and collections made along the main rivers, near big cities and in the few protected areas most frequently studied. As a result, new studies on the Amazon's biodiversity, particularly those conducted in the forest's most remote areas, continue to reveal large numbers of species that are as yet unknown to science – and humanity.
 
New species discovered
As well as recording the new species of vertebrates and plants discovered in the Amazon between January 2014 and December 2015, the report also includes an update on species identified in a previous 2010- 2013 report.
 
The report, which consolidates the findings from a number of different researchers, highlights some of the most fascinating finds, including:
  • A new species of pink river dolphin (Inia Araguaiaensis) - Estimated to have a population of around 1,000 individuals, the species is under threat from the construction of hydroelectric dams, and industrial, agricultural and cattle ranching activities. Pink river dolphins are an important part of the local culture around the Amazon, with a number of myths and legends around them.
  • Fire-tailed titi monkey (Plecturocebus miltoni) – This striking monkey from the southern Amazon owes its name to its long bright orange tail. The species is under threat from deforestation.
  • A bird that pays tribute to the Brazilian rubber tapper (Zimmerius chicomendesi) – Discovered after its unknown call attracted attention, this bird's name - Chico's Tyrannulet - is a tribute to the rubber tapper and environmentalist Francisco Alves Mendes Filho. Better-known as Chico Mendes, he was a leader of the rubber tapping communities, and played a key role in opening the world's eyes to the problems faced by the Amazon.
  • A bird named after former US President Barack Obama and found in a huge area between Brazil, Peru, and Ecuador (Nystalus obamai);
  • Another bird named after the famous anthropologist and explorer Marechal Cândido Rondon, found in the South of Amazonas (Hypocnemis rondoni);
  • A stingray which has "honeycombs" on its surface, registered in Rondônia, in the region of Alto Madeira (Potamotrygon limai);
  • A bird found at the south of Amazonas, in the Sucunduri region, where WWF-Brazil maintains conservation projects (Tolmomyias sucunduri).
The Amazon contains nearly a third of the earth's remaining tropical rainforests and, despite covering only around 1 per cent of the planet's surface, it is estimated to be home to 10 per cent of the earth's known species. Globally, it is estimated that 80 per cent of species are yet to be identified.
 
The current rate of human-related extinction of species is between 1,000 and 10,000 times that of the natural rate of extinction. Knowing the total number of species in the region provides a baseline to monitor current and future biodiversity losses. The discovery of new species is important for environmental and natural resource management, and can guide the establishment of protected areas to safeguard wildlife and the communities that depend on these resources.
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For more information, please contact:
Gabriela Yamaguchi | WWF-Brazil | gabrielayamaguchi@wwf.org.br; +55 11 976-774-608
Jorge Eduardo Dantas | WWF-Brazil | jorgeoliveira@wwf.org.br; +55 (61) 98165-6818 / (92) 3364-3844 / (92) 99136-2317
 

Nepal leads the way in snow leopard conservation at global summit

23. August 2017 - 2:00
Bishkek, 23 August 2017 - Nepal has made conservation history by becoming the first country to launch its climate-smart snow leopard landscape management plan, leading the way in safeguarding the species and its habitat. Nepal's conservation plan launched today ahead of the International Snow Leopard Summit and Ecosystem Forum in Kyrgyzstan, addresses key current and emerging threats to snow leopards including climate change and will be used as a model for other range countries to adopt.

Prakash Mathema, Secretary at Nepal's Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation adds:
"This is the first climate-smart landscape management plan for snow leopard conservation in the world and is evidence of the Government of Nepal's high level of commitment to this goal. It could not have been possible without the support of local communities, conservation organizations and other committed partners.

"Nepal's efforts alone are not enough to protect this elusive species and its transboundary habitat. I request our national and international conservation partners and donors to support us as we move ahead with the important task of implementing this plan."

Ghana S. Gurung, Conservation Director, WWF-Nepal said:
"We are thrilled that Nepal has become the first of the twelve snow leopard range countries to produce its landscape management plan and make conservation history. The plan addresses even the toughest challenges including tackling the complex impacts of climate change. Nepal has once again established itself as a leader in conservation, showing much-needed ambition despite facing some of the toughest environmental, economic and political conditions. It sends a clear message to the rest of the world that Nepal is fully committed to safeguarding the snow leopard and its habitat, on which millions of people depend.

"Nepal has set a strong precedent and paved the way for the ambitious goal set by all twelve range countries - to secure 20 snow leopard landscapes by 2020 - to be achieved. "

The International Snow Leopard Summit and Ecosystem Forum, officially opens tomorrow in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. At the meeting, world leaders will hold critical talks to strengthen previous commitments to safeguard the future of the snow leopard and its habitat - the headwaters for rivers on which hundreds of millions directly depend as a source of freshwater.

It has been four years since the range countries first met in 2013, when they committed to an ambitious goal of securing 20 snow leopard landscapes by 2020. This has brought the plight of this iconic species into the spotlight and created hope that commitment from the range country governments could set an example of conservation success worldwide. However, as we pass the half-way point, there remain as few as 4,000 snow leopards and its habitat, which is home to the headwaters of 20 major rivers in Asia and known as the 'world's water towers', continues to shrink.

Nepal has shown exemplary effort by launching its plan which tackles the complex challenges facing these habitats including the pervasive effects of climate change. This comes ahead of the Bishkek Declaration which will be signed by all twelve range states at the close of the summit and must pave the way for more substantial action in securing 20 snow leopard landscapes by 2020.

-ENDS-

For more information please contact:
Lianne Mason | lmason@wwfint.org | +65 90601842
Sana Ahmed | saahmed@wwf.org.pk | +9242111993725

Global leaders head critical summit to save the snow leopard and its habitat, on which hundreds of millions depend

23. August 2017 - 2:00
International Snow Leopard Summit and Ecosystem Forum, 23- 25 August, Bishkek Kyrgyzstan: World leaders will begin critical talks over the future of the snow leopard and its habitat; the headwaters for rivers on which hundreds of millions directly depend as a source of freshwater. WWF urges snow leopard range countries*, which include political powerhouses China, Russia and India, to bolster previous commitments, or risk irreversible damage to both the species and landscape.

It has been four years since the range countries first met in 2013, when they committed to an ambitious goal of securing 20 snow leopard landscapes by 2020. This has brought the plight of this iconic species into the spotlight and created hope that this commitment from the range country governments could set an example of conservation success worldwide. However, as we pass the half-way point, there remain as few as 4,000 snow leopards and its habitat, which is home to the headwaters of 20 major rivers in Asia and known as the 'world's water towers', continues to shrink.

Marco Lambertini, Director General at WWF International, said:
"The snow leopard range countries could write one of the greatest success stories of modern conservation. They have made promising progress to begin safeguarding the 20 landscapes by 2020 but we now reach a critical check point. Efforts must be increased or the goal will not be achieved, with snow leopards and local communities feeling the consequences."
                    
"This summit sets the stage for snow leopard range states to raise the bar and take strong action now to prevent permanent damage and build resilience for snow leopards and their habitats, alongside the ambitions of also developing local economies and livelihoods. Appreciating the countless bounties that nature provides and firmly remembering that the fate of humanity is closely intertwined with nature is crucial for the future of our living planet. Securing the future of snow leopards, the undisputed symbol of the high mountains of Asia, is a part of acknowledging not just our interdependence but our moral responsibility towards nature."

A joint global petition from WWF, Snow Leopard Trust and NABU, which garnered support from an unprecedented 202,349 people, including Academy Award-winning actor, environmentalist, and WWF-US board member, Leonardo DiCaprio and actress Megan Fox, calls for increased efforts in tackling major threats to the species.

The summit provides a unique and rare opportunity to address two of the greatest emerging threats for the snow leopard and its vital habitat; climate change and unsustainable infrastructure development, both of which transcend far beyond political borders of countries and need a united approach to succeed.
 
Recent research suggests that climate change could wipe out more than two thirds of snow leopard habitat in the next fifty years. This, coupled with infrastructure projects which could cut ribbons across many of the snow leopard landscapes, mean the coming years will push the species even closer to the brink of survival.
 
Lambertini, continues:
"WWF's latest Living Planet Report shows if we continue with business as usual, we could witness a two-thirds decline in wildlife from 1970 to 2020. We're at a crucial time to bend the curve and halt the decline of nature. However, this is not only about the wildlife we love. Safeguarding a future for snow leopards means protecting their vast habitats, on which hundreds of millions of people depend for freshwater and livelihoods."
 
WWF is also urging countries at the summit to ramp up efforts in tackling levels of poaching and human / snow leopard conflict.  A recent TRAFFIC report estimates up to 450 snow leopards are poached every year – part of the same illegal trade which is decimating elephants, rhinos and tigers across Asia and Africa.

Increased conflict between people and snow leopards is due to loss of wild prey and shrinking habitats caused by overstocking of rangelands and worsened by the warming temperatures. Lack of wild prey forces snow leopards to kill livestock and mountain communities often retaliate by killing and poisoning them.

Losing this species will incur yet another tragic loss of wildlife due to human activity and will have catastrophic and cascading effects that will not only damage the natural cycle of life in snow leopard habitats but also threaten the already precarious livelihoods of local communities, as well as jeopardize the health of a major source of freshwater for Asia.

The Bishkek Declaration which will be signed by all twelve range states at the close of the International Snow Leopard Summit, must pave the way for more substantial action in securing 20 snow leopard landscapes by 2020.

-ENDS-

Notes to editor:
WWF is asking heads of state and governments attending the International Snow Leopard Summit to support and action the following:
  • Strengthen the capacity of governments and communities to prevent poaching of snow leopards and prevent conflict. This is particularly critical and will be an essential part of maintaining the resilience of snow leopard populations in the face of climate change.
  • Designating and safeguarding Priority Areas to ensure that infrastructure is developed sustainably and does not proceed at the expense of snow leopards and its habitats, which act as a lifeline to billions of people.
  • Approve and attend a sustainable infrastructure research conference. Lack of research into remote snow leopard landscapes results in lost opportunities to choose other more ecologically and economically optimal sites for infrastructure development.  
  • Prioritize an integrated landscape planning approach that explicitly assesses and addresses climate change impacts and risks for both people and wildlife.
  • Invest in greater snow leopard research and monitoring. Snow leopard landscapes across Asia are vital life sources supporting both people and wildlife. Yet, our understanding of how different living and non-living factors in these areas affect snow leopard survival and its habitat remains poor.
*Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan

For more information please contact:
Lianne Mason | lmason@wwfint.og | +65 90601842
Sana Ahmed | saahmed@wwf.org.pk | +9242111993725
 

Belize moratorium on offshore oil activity landmark step forward for marine conservation

18. August 2017 - 2:00
Belmopan, Belize, 18 August 2017– The Belize government's decision today to introduce critical legislation to establish a permanent moratorium on offshore oil activity in and around the Belize Barrier Reef has been welcomed by WWF, Oceana and other members of the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage as a landmark step forward for the World Heritage site and marine conservation globally.
 
The move to stop damaging oil exploration in Belize's territorial sea and Exclusive Economic Zone, expected to be adopted in the country's next parliamentary session in November 2017, marks an important first step toward protecting coastal and marine ecosystems worldwide and safeguarding the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere, a significant biodiversity hotspot.
 
"At a time when nature is under increasing pressure and being lost at an unprecedented and accelerating rate, we are beginning to realise its irreplaceable contribution to our own economy and welfare. The Belize government's commitment to protect the Belize Barrier Reef sets an example for the kind of leadership we urgently need to protect our planet's oceans and some of its most productive, outstanding - and yet, extremely vulnerable - places," said Marco Lambertini, Director General, WWF International.
 
The Belize Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996, is home to almost 1,400 species and serves as a critical source of livelihood for over half of Belize's population. In October 2016, a decision to allow seismic testing for oil barely one kilometre away from the site caused national and global outcry over concerns on the potential impact on the site and its unique ecosystems.
 
"Last year's mobilization showed how we stand united in our determination to protect the reef - a source of life, tradition and pride for all of us in Belize. We are heartened by today's decision which demonstrates the government's commitment to protect our national treasure," said Nadia Bood, Mesoamerican Reef Scientist at WWF. "We now need to continue our efforts, as decision-makers, civil society and individuals, to ensure the reef and its remarkable biodiversity is safeguarded for marine life and communities for years to come."
 
"The catalyst for change has, and will always be, the will of the people. On the issue of offshore oil exploration in one of the world's most unique marine environments, the unwavering engagement of Belizeans, the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage members and the global community has been the constant factor that has brought us to this point in our democracy, " said Oceana's Vice President in Belize, Janelle Chanona. "Once enacted, this legislation would signal Prime Minister Barrow's administration's recognition that the quality of our lives directly depends on the integrity of natural resources and that the livelihoods of the tens of thousands of Belizeans who depend on the reef are not disposable. This legislation will also make Belize a leader in protecting corals and safeguarding coastal and marine ecosystems—actions that will hopefully prompt similar actions around the world."
 
A WWF assessment published in June this year showed the Belize Barrier Reef to be under threat from offshore oil drilling and damaging coastal construction. While the ban on offshore oil activity would be significant progress, urgent action to strengthen mangrove regulation and limit the sale of public land in the World Heritage site is also needed.
 
Reef-related tourism and fisheries support around 190,000 people in Belize. The annual economic contribution of reef-related tourism, fisheries and scientific research is estimated to be around 15 per cent of Belize's gross domestic product (GDP).
 
For 30 years WWF has been working to conserve Belize's unique biodiversity, tackling its greatest threats while improving the lives of vulnerable communities, as part of its integral scope in the Mesoamerican Reef System. 
 
Like the Belize Barrier Reef, nearly half of natural World Heritage sites worldwide are threatened by industrial pressures, putting the livelihoods and well-being of communities who depend on them at risk and threatening their long-term viability. WWF's campaign, Together Saving Our Shared Heritage, is working to strengthen the implementation of the World Heritage Convention and reinforce the OECD guidelines that protect these sites. To date, over 400,000 people have expressed their support for the protection of the Belize World Heritage site through the campaign.
 
--- ends ---
Notes to Editors:
WWF photos and videos for use along with copyright information are available for download here.
Oceana photos and videos for use along with copyright information are available for download  here.
The WWF report Protecting People through Nature on the importance of natural World Heritage sites to communities and wildlife and the threats they face is available here.
The report Too Precious to Drill: The Marine Biodiversity of Belize outlining why Belize's marine environment needs to be protected from oil activities can be found here.
 
For more information, please contact:
Nadia Bood nbood@wwfca.org | 501-602-6015| Skype: nboodwwfca
Janelle Chanona jchanona@oceana.org |501-610-2358| Skype: jchanona.oceana

WWF deeply concerned over imminent certification of Mexican tuna fishery

5. August 2017 - 2:00
Gland, Switzerland, 5 August 2017 – WWF has expressed its deep concern at the likely Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of the Northeastern Tropical Pacific tuna dolphin-set purse seine fishery. WWF had previously objected to this certification proposal due to its belief that impacts of the fishery on depleted dolphin populations have not been sufficiently examined and addressed, therefore not meeting the MSC standard. An independent adjudicator assigned to consider the objection has now dismissed WWF's challenge.  
 
"This is a deeply troubling outcome that we believe shows that the MSC standard is not consistently being adhered to by certifiers and that the objections procedure provides insufficient opportunity for consideration of the scientific basis for certifiers' conclusions," said Franck Hollander, Seafood Officer for WWF-Germany and the global team lead for WWF on this project.
 
In the waters of the Eastern Pacific, one technique used for decades to catch tuna involves targeting schools of tuna associated with dolphins, contributing to high dolphin mortality. Despite reductions in the number of dolphins killed by this practice, it is yet unknown whether populations have recovered from dramatic declines that began in the late 1950s and continued though the early 1990s.
 
In October 2016, WWF filed an objection to the MSC assessment conducted by an independent certifier based on two factors: that the information used to assess fishery impacts on depleted dolphin species was not transparent and that the assessment did not accurately account for impacts of the fishery on dolphin populations.
 
 "While WWF continues to support the MSC as the world's leading wild-caught sustainable seafood certification program, it remains our opinion that the Northeastern Tropical Pacific purse seine tuna fishery does not meet the MSC standard. Depleted dolphin populations that frequently associate with commercially-targeted schools of tuna in the Eastern Pacific could be negatively impacted by this fishery. WWF believes the existing science does not support the conclusions made in the assessment," Hollander said.
 
"WWF urges all stakeholders to work together to improve fishing practices and the availability of up-to-date scientific information on the impacted dolphin stocks in order to quantify and address any impacts of the fishery," said Enrique Sanjurjo, Lead, Food Practice, WWF-Mexico.
 
WWF recommends that seafood buyers should not consider this fishery as sustainable.
 
--- ends ---
For media requests, please contact:
Rucha Naware | WWF International | rnaware@wwfint.org | +44 739 377 6573
 
For technical questions, please contact:
Franck Hollander | WWF-Germany | franck.hollander@wwf.de
 
About WWF
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit www.panda.org/news for latest news and media resources and follow us on Twitter @WWF_media
 
 

Snaring crisis devastating Asia's wildlife, jeopardizing decades of tiger conservation efforts

29. July 2017 - 2:00
29 July 2017 – On Global Tiger Day today, WWF is urging tiger-range governments to strengthen anti-poaching efforts and crack down on a severe wildlife snaring crisis that is threatening wildlife across Asia, especially the world's remaining wild tigers, which number only around 3,900.
 
Easy to make from widely available material such as bicycle cable wires and quick to set up, wire snares are deadly traps that are fast becoming the plague of Asia's forests. Driven by the growing illegal wildlife trade, which is now reaching an estimated US$20 billion annually[1], poachers are increasingly using snares to trap wild tigers, elephants, leopards and other animals that are in high demand in the black market.  
 
"Snares are dangerous, insidious and quickly becoming a major contributor to the wave of extinction that is spreading throughout Southeast Asia – and tigers are being swept up in this crisis. All efforts to recover wild tigers are now imperiled by snaring on a massive scale. We cannot over emphasize the need for strong government commitment and investment in rangers who are on the frontline of conservation, clearing snares and apprehending those who set them," said Mike Baltzer, Leader of WWF Tigers Alive.
 
In the rare occasion that a wild tiger is able to escape a snare, it suffers debilitating injuries that prevent it from hunting, eventually causing it to die of starvation or infection. In addition, snares maim or kill any animal that activates them thus dealing a double blow to wild tigers, by trapping the prey base they need to survive and reproduce.
 
"It's impossible to know how many snares are being set up every day, and threatening wildlife in these critical habitats. Hundreds of thousands of deadly snares are removed by rangers from Asia's protected areas annually, but this is just the tip of the iceberg," said Rohit Singh, wildlife law enforcement expert at WWF.
 
Within the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the only place on Earth where wild tigers, orangutans, elephants and rhinos are found in the same habitat, snare traps are estimated to have doubled between 2006 and 2014[2]
 
Yet, many of such critical habitats lack adequate resources for protection. In nearby Rimbang Baling, one of several protected areas in Sumatra, there are only two full-time government rangers out of a total of 26 mostly community-based rangers. Together, they patrol over 1,400 square kilometres, an area equivalent to nearly twice the size of New York City.
 
"Removing these silent traps is not enough. Rangers on the ground must be supported by greater resources and strong legislation to take action against illegal poachers with snares," added Singh. "In addition, local communities must also be recognized and empowered as stakeholders in conservation. Protecting biodiversity is in the interest of both wildlife and people and communities can play a critical role in safeguarding vital ecosystems."
 
In the Gunung Leuser National Park, which makes up just about a third of the entire World Heritage site in Sumatra, ecosystem services are valued at over US$ 600 million per year, while the park stores over 1.6 billion tons of carbon and provides water to four million people[3]. Local communities rely heavily on these critical resources to survive, making it an even stronger imperative to halt the snaring crisis, and help safeguard the livelihoods of local communities.
 
As snares tighten their grip across Asia, conservation organizations across the continent are calling for urgent action. For example, in Cambodia, conservation groups led by Wildlife Alliance are launching an awareness movement to educate the public on avoiding the consumption of wild meat, which further fuels the snaring crisis.
 
In 2010, tiger range governments committed to the most ambitious conservation goal set for a single species – TX2, or the global goal to double wild tigers by 2022. Since 2016, the long trend of decline in global wild tiger numbers has halted for now and may even begin to rise, signaling a beacon of hope for global tiger conservation. Without urgent efforts to strengthen anti-poaching and reinforce investments in rangers, the poaching crisis will turn the trend back towards decline.
 
----------
Notes to Editors
  1. Illegal wildlife trade is estimated to reach USD20 billion per year, which makes wildlife trafficking the world's 4th largest illicit trade, after narcotics, human trafficking and trade in counterfeit goods.
  2. The number of snare traps in Sumatra recorded in 2013 and 2014 are doubled, when compared to the preceding eight years, suggesting a higher number of poachers in the area. Data is based on a study by D. Risdianto et al., Biological Conservation, Vol. 204 Part B, pp. 306-312, 2016.
  3. Based on WWF's report, 'Not for Sale', 2017, by Dalberg Global Development Advisors.

For further information
WWF International Media teamnews@wwfint.org | +44 7887 954116
Jialing Lim
Communications Manager, WWF Tigers Alive jllim@wwfnet.org | +65 9298 0961
 
 
About WWF
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries.  WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. Visit panda.org/news for latest news and media resources. 

EU Court of Justice orders Poland to halt logging in Bialowieza Forest

28. July 2017 - 2:00
Warsaw, Poland – In response to the Court of Justice of the European Union's decision to halt logging in Bialowieza Forest, Dariusz Gatlowski, Biodiversity Specialist at WWF-Poland, said:
 
"This decision is great news for Bialowieza and the communities that depend on this remarkable forest. By ordering Poland to halt logging, the Court has recognized that these activities are causing serious and irreparable damage in this priceless site. Bialowieza must instead be safeguarded for future generations.
 
"We expect the Polish government to immediately adhere to the Court's order and stop the ongoing destruction of Europe's best preserved lowland forest."
 
The Court of Justice of the European Union decision requires Poland to suspend logging in Bialowieza Forest, except in situations threatening public safety. In practice, this means not only the suspension of the execution of the March 2016 decision by Poland's Minister of the Environment, Jan Szyszko, to allow increased logging in Białowieza Forest District, but also a ban on removing old trees from the remaining parts of the forest.
 
The ban on logging will be in force until the final settlement of the case of Bialowieza Forest by the court.
 
To stop logging in the Bialowieza Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the court based its decision on so-called interim measures. This is an extraordinary legal instrument that suspends an action in question, with immediate effect. The court uses it very rarely - only in cases where there is a serious risk that ongoing activities could cause serious and irreparable damage.
 
The court's decision confirms what the European Commission, UNESCO, most of the scientific community and WWF have previously stressed: increased wood extraction, not a bark beetle infestation, threatens the protected habitats and species in Bialowieza Forest, and logging must be stopped immediately before irreversible damage occurs.

***ends***
 
For more information, please contact:
Scott Edwards | WWF International | sedwards@wwfint.org | +44 7887 954116
 
Notes to Editors:
  • Images are available here.

G20 summit shows ambition on climate and sustainability as need for action grows

8. July 2017 - 2:00
Hamburg, GERMANY (17 July 2017) – As the G20 Leaders' Summit concludes, WWF urges the world's leading industrialized and emerging economies to deliver on their commitment toward ensuring sustainability and resilience for all. The ambition shared in the Leaders' Communiqué released today must be accompanied by concrete actions by G20 countries and governments to bend the curve of accelerating climate change, staggering biodiversity loss and unsustainable use of the planet's natural resources.
 
Today, unprecedented environmental pollution, climate change impacts, biodiversity declines, land degradation and water scarcity are pushing the planet to a tipping point. Collective action on issues such as Green Finance, climate policy, marine pollution and wildlife crime, as outlined in the final G20 declaration, is urgently needed to help prevent irreversible damage to global societies and economies and ensure stability and security in the world's most vulnerable regions.
 
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global Climate & Energy Practice, said: "By accelerating progress under both the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the G20 group of nations can help move the sustainability agenda forward. Acknowledging the irreversible momentum set forth by the Paris climate deal, leaders have shown their determination to join countries and non-State actors worldwide in creating a global socio-economic transformation that will shape our national economies, people's well-being and prosperity for years to come.''
 
At the Summit, all G20 members, except the US, committed to ensuring full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, through cooperation on enhanced delivery of national climate contributions, delivering long-term plans by 2020 and with independent monitoring of the shifting of financial flows. Their pledge comes just weeks after US president Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the global climate agreement approved in December 2015.
 
"Implementing the Paris Agreement is in the interest of each nation. Effective climate strategies can help unlock new business and employment opportunities, renewable energy, health benefits, and a sustainable future for all. As G20 leaders join cities, companies and individuals around the globe in committing toward a climate-safe future, it must be crystal clear that there is no place for fossil fuels in this scenario. We can be stronger together for climate but we need to translate ambition into action now," said Pulgar-Vidal.
 
In addition to climate change, leaders at the G20 summit also discussed opportunities and challenges linked to Green Finance and its role in shifting financial flows worldwide toward greater sustainability by taking climate and environmental risks into account.
 
The forum also looked at the important link between wildlife crime and corruption for the first time, with a G20 Action Plan specifically highlighting the profound economic, social, cultural, and environmental impacts of illegal wildlife trade.
 
Margaret Kinnaird, leader of WWF's global Wildlife Practice, said: "Wildlife crime not only threatens our planet's incredible wildlife but it is also harming the lives, livelihoods and human rights of local communities who have depended on their surrounding resources and ecosystems for centuries. We urge Argentina as the next G20 president to build on the legacy of Germany's outgoing presidency and make wildlife crime a priority to help stave off global biodiversity loss and promote sustainable use of natural resources."
 
Moving forward, WWF also urges the upcoming Presidency to continue the group's focus on marine pollution, calling for the definition of timeframes and responsibilities under the Action Plan on Marine Litter and concrete measures such as the development, funding and knowledge-sharing of national legal frameworks facilitating better integrated waste management systems through extended producer responsibility and sustainable financing.
 
On 1 December 2017, Argentina will take over the G20 Presidency and organize the G20 summit in 2018. It will be the second G20 summit to be held in Latin America.

For further information, contact Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org or Rucha Nawara rnawara@wwfint.org. 

WWF campaign win: Spain must now commit to stop dredging inside outstanding wetland site

5. July 2017 - 2:00
Krakow, Poland - The efforts of campaigners to inform experts on the UNESCO World Heritage Committee of the threats faced by Doñana, a rare and outstanding wetland in Europe, has ensured that requests on Spain to protect the site were maintained.
 
The Spanish government and other committee members moved today to relax what is asked of them, which would have created an uncertain future for Doñana.
 
In a campaign win for WWF and other conservation bodies, Spain was forced to end plans for dredging the river, and WWF now calls on Spain to keep to this promise and build on it, as there is much more to do.
 
The Committee recognised that current levels of water abstraction from the aquifer, if continued, would threaten the outstanding natural value of the site. If cared for, Doñana need not face a future on the 'in-danger' list, which remains a risk.
 
Doñana is one of Europe's few outstanding wetlands, and the continent's most important location for migratory birds. The site harbours over 4,000 types of plants and animals, including threatened birds and the world's rarest feline species, the Iberian lynx. In addition to its environmental value, the park provides for the wellbeing of 200,000 nearby residents, with jobs from fishing, farming, research and ecotourism.
 
WWF has been calling on the Spanish government for many years to protect and recover Doñana's water sources. Specifically, it must:
  • Cancel definitively dredging of the Guadalquivir River
  • Eliminate the 1,000 illegal wells, and 3,000 hectares of illegal farming fields as per the land use plan of the Andalusian government
  • Prohibit all mining and gas projects that could threaten Doñana
 
"Spain now has a chance to safeguard Doñana World Heritage site and all it gives us. WWF calls on the Spanish Government to work together with UNESCO, IUCN and conservationists, to protect this valuable place - or else it will be lost to species, visitors, the economy and future generations," said Eva Hernandez, head of the freshwater programme at WWF Spain.
 
The concern for Doñana has been expressed by thousands of people. More than 150,000 WWF supporters have emailed the Spanish president asking him to save Doñana. Last year, thousands of origami birds sent by activists from across the world were displayed outside the country's parliament in Madrid.
 
WWF has a presence at the meeting in Krakow in a bid to defend sites of outstanding value, such as Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania, Bialowieza Forest in Poland, and the Gulf of California, all of which are being discussed by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee this week, and have been a focus of its campaign, Saving our Shared Heritage.
 
                                                --- ends ---
 
For more information, please contact:
Rebecca Clear WWF International rclear@wwfint.org +44 7909 936628 (in Krakow)
Scott Edwards WWF International sedwards@wwfint.org +44 7887 954116 (in UK)
 
Notes to Editors:
 A WWF report "Protecting people through nature: places of world natural heritage as a driver of sustainable development" published last year as part of the Saving Our Shared Heritage campaign showed that nearly half of the world's natural heritage sites are endangered by harmful industrial activities.

WWF urgently appeals to World Heritage Committee to protect Europe's outstanding wetland, Doñana

5. July 2017 - 2:00
Krakow, Poland - Today, Doñana, a rare and outstanding wetland in Europe, is facing a huge threat to its future, as the UNESCO World Heritage Committee comes under pressure to relax its requests on Spain to protect the site.
 
The Spanish government and other committee members are expected to try to relax what is asked of them, creating an uncertain future for Doñana. WWF experts are appealing to the committee today to resist this pressure.
 
Doñana is one of Europe's few outstanding wetlands, and the continent's most important location for migratory birds. The site harbours over 4,000 types of plants and animals, including threatened birds and the world's rarest feline species, the Iberian lynx. In addition to its environmental value, the park provides for the wellbeing of 200,000 nearby residents, with jobs from fishing, farming, research and ecotourism.
 
WWF has been calling on the Spanish government for many years to protect and recover Doñana's water sources. Specifically, it must:
  • Cancel definitively dredging of the Guadalquivir River
  • Eliminate the 1,000 illegal wells, and 3,000 hectares of illegal farming fields as per the land use plan of the Andalusian government
  • Prohibit all mining and gas projects that could threaten Doñana
The UNESCO draft decision relating to this must retain key elements which require Spain to safeguard the site from the identified threats.
 
The concern for Doñana has been expressed by thousands of people. More than 150,000 WWF supporters have emailed the Spanish president asking him to save Doñana. Last year, thousands of origami birds sent by activists from across the world were displayed outside the country's parliament in Madrid.
 
WWF has a presence at the meeting in Krakow in a bid to defend sites of outstanding value, such as Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania, Bialowieza Forest in Poland, and the Gulf of California, all of which are being discussed by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee this week, and have been a focus of its campaign, Saving our Shared Heritage.

                                                --- ends ---
 
For more information, please contact:
Scott Edwards | WWF International | sedwards@wwfint.org | +44 7887 954116 Notes to Editors:
Images are available here.
 
About Doñana
The Doñana wetland complex includes a World Heritage site, a natural park and four Natura 2000 sites. Doñana's diverse ecosystems provide habitats for up to six million migratory birds each year and half a million wintering birds. The area is home to over 1,500 plant species, almost 2,000 animal species and 500 species of microorganisms. 
In addition, wetland ecosystems, such as Doñana, provide many services that support the livelihoods and well-being of people. These include fish, fresh water supplies, climate regulation, flood regulation, and coastal protection.
A WWF report "Protecting people through nature: places of world natural heritage as a driver of sustainable development"published last year as part of the Saving Our Shared Heritage campaign showed that nearly half of the world's natural heritage sites are endangered by harmful industrial activities.
The draft decision relating to Białowieża Forest is to be considered at the 41st session of the World Heritage Committee in Poland on Wednesday 5 July can be found here

Host of World Heritage meeting failing to protect own forest

4. July 2017 - 2:00
Krakow, Poland - A protest organised by a coalition of environmental NGOs in Poland today outside the 41st session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee shed light on the plight of the host country's ancient Białowieża Forest, which is under serious threat of large-scale logging.
 
WWF took part in the protest, and continues to urge the Committee delegates to be vigilant to attempts to weaken the protections for Białowieża Forest. WWF highlights the danger logging poses to the irreplaceable value of the site, which is scheduled to be discussed on Wednesday at the UNESCO meeting.
 
"It is extremely concerning that an area recognized as having such outstanding value can so easily come under threat. The Polish minister of the environment is disregarding the concern of its own people - clearly voiced by the protest here - in order to pursue its own agenda." said Aslihan Tumer, Head of Global Campaigns at WWF International.
 
The Białowieża Forest World Heritage site lies on the border between Poland and Belarus and covers an area of over 140,000 hectares. Home to thousands of species including the largest population of European bison, it has been described by UNESCO as an "irreplaceable area for biodiversity conservation."
 
"Europe's best preserved ancient forest is facing an existential threat. We should be doing everything we can to protect it, not opening it up for intensified logging. We urge the Polish government to stop logging and safeguard Białowieża for future generations and stand by its UNESCO commitments," said Dariusz Gatkowski, Biodiversity Policy Specialist, WWF-Poland.
 
WWF reiterates the role of the World Heritage Committee in protecting recognized sites and the danger posed by over-politicization. In 2016, a number of advisory body recommendations on the necessary protection for Białowieża Forest were ignored when Committee decisions were taken.
 
Other sites of concern are Doñana National Park, Selous Game Reserve, and Western Caucasus. WWF fears that the Committee may be influenced to weaken the demands it places on the relevant governments responsible for the protection of these special places.
 
"We call on the World Heritage Committee to uphold their role as the guardians of these remarkable sites," added Tumer.

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For more information, please contact:
Scott Edwards | WWF International | sedwards@wwfint.org | +44 7887 954116